Cummings has six out of the 42 horses for Melbourne Cup
Bart Cummings has six of the 42 horses remaining in the Melbourne Cup after third declarations with the master trainer assured of three runners.
Last year’s winner Viewed heads the group ahead of Roman Emperor and Allez Wonder with Think Money, Dandaad and Naval Escort not yet in the field as Cummings looks towards a 13th Cup victory on Tuesday week.
Dandaad and Naval Escort have both been entered for Saturday’s Lexus Stakes (2500m), the winner of which gains automatic entry to the Cup while a start for Think Money will rest on the attrition rate.
There were six internationally-trained horses left in the mix on Monday – Luca Cumani’s pair of Basaltico and Cima De Triomphe, Godolphin’s Crime Scene and Kirklees along with Mourilyan for Herman Brown and the Ian Williams-trained Munsef.
The flamboyant Frankie Dettori is expected to come to Australia to ride Kirklees.
"It’s not confirmed, but it seems Frankie will come to ride Kirklees and Kerrin McEvoy will be on Crime Scene," Godolphin travelling foreman Tommy Strang said.
Dettori’s best result in the Cup so far was aboard Central Park who finished second to the Cummings-trained Rogan Josh in 1999.
Three former Europeans, the Lee Freedman-trained Speed Gifted, Chris Waller’s new stable acquisition Warringah and Changingoftheguard who is now with David Hayes, are also among the remaining contenders.
Speed Gifted is in some doubt after he jarred up on the firm Moonee Valley track when he beat just one runner home in the Cox Plate while Changingoftheguard needs to continue his good progress from a hoof abscess to convince Hayes to run.
Seven New Zealanders, Daffodil, Harris Tweed, Spin Around, Gallions Reach, Capecover, Six O’Clock News and Hoorang, were paid up for the Cup which has not crossed the Tasman since Ethereal won in 2001.
Changingoftheguard was given a searching solo gallop at the Sandown quarantine centre on Monday morning, his biggest test since he arrived in Australia.
He had a slight setback last week with a foot abscess which burst on Saturday morning and Hayes will wait until he works on Thursday to decide whether he runs in Saturday’s Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) or the Cup (3200m) the following Tuesday.
"That was his first decent blow since I’ve had him, he’ll come on a lot for it," Hayes said.
"I haven’t made up my mind yet … he’s in good order.
"It was nice work but it’s always hard to judge work when you’re working on your own."
Cox Plate winning rider Glen Boss will ride Changingoftheguard if he starts in the Cup.
Viewed and 2007 winner Efficient remained joint favourites with emerging stayer Alcopop after Monday’s declaration stage.
Speed Gifted was as short as $7 with TAB Sportsbet but has drifted to $15.
Final acceptances for the Cup will be taken at 5pm on Saturday with the Victoria Racing Club to announce the 24-horse field shortly after.
By Caryl Williamson